African researchers fighting to help newborns worldwide

18 June 2023



18 June 2023

CHRIS Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town and Kilifi County Hospital in Kenya are participating in a clinical trial that could prevent over 200,000 infant deaths yearly.

According to researchers, some 214,000 newborn deaths are caused by sepsis worldwide each year, which affects up to 3 million babies a year. Researchers from countries including Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have now developed two critical tools to identify babies at high risk to ensure they get early treatment.

Sepsis, also known as septicemia, occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body, cascading through to crucial organs and causing them to fail. It is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in low and middle-income countries, and newborns are particularly at risk because of their underdeveloped immune systems.

In a just-released study called NeoOBS, led by the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), which involved over 3, 200 babies in 19 hospitals in 11 countries, researchers found out that many newborns are dying because the antibiotics used to treat sepsis are losing their effectiveness.


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